Note: Thank you to Sleeping Bear Press for providing a copy to review. All opinions are my own.
Women throughout history have accomplished some pretty amazing things but sometimes we don’t hear about them because they were overlooked. New nonfiction picture books from Sleeping Bear Press highlight two such trailblazing women. Read on to learn more, and don’t forget to enter the giveaway at the end of this post!
June Almeida, Virus Detective! The Woman Who Discovered the First Human Coronavirus
Written by Suzanne Slade and illustrated by Elisa Paganelli
For many, the term “coronavirus” was something they heard for the first time in the last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. But coronaviruses were not new. They’ve been around for a long time, as discussed in the new picture book June Almeida, Virus Detective! The Woman Who Discovered the First Human Coronavirus.
June Almeida was born in 1930 in Glasgow, Scotland. As a child, she enjoyed learning about science and nature. Throughout her education, she excelled and even won the top science prize at her school. She dreamed of studying science at a university. However, her family’s financial hardships prevented her from attending, and she left school at age 16.
June found a lab job at a local hospital where she used a microscope to study cells. Using her creative, technical, and observation skills, June captured the first images of a new virus using a powerful electron microscope. The virus looked like it had a crown, thus it was named “coronavirus” since “corona” means crown. June was 34 years old when she discovered the first human coronavirus. June kept studying viruses such as rubella, hepatitis B, and HIV. Her research helped scientists develop medicines that could fight viruses to prevent them from making people sick.
Colorful, detailed illustrations capture June’s life and help to keep young readers engaged. Back matter includes a virus poem written by June Almeida, a bibliography, photographs, and a timeline of June Almeida.
Headstrong Hallie! The Story of Hallie Morse Daggett, the First Female “Fire Guard”
Written by Aimée Bissonette and illustrated by David Hohn
Hallie Morse Daggett was born in 1878 and grew up in California’s Siskiyou Mountains. She loved the outdoors, and over the years she traversed every trail on the Salmon River watershed and knew the area in detail. Hallie wasn’t afraid of bugs or wildlife, but she was afraid of fires. She understood the threat that fire posed to animals, humans, and nature.
Hallie wanted to work for the US Forest Service. Time after time she applied for a job but was rejected because the US Forest Service did not hire women. But Hallie knew in her heart what she was meant to do, and she didn’t take no for an answer. She kept trying, and in 1913 she was got a job. Hallie Morse Daggett became the first woman “fire guard” hired by the US Forest Service. In her first season, she spotted 40 fires. Her commitment to her job and its mission lasted for 14 seasons until she retired in 1927.
Hallie’s persistence, determination, and passion enabled her to fulfill her dream and life’s mission. Young readers, especially girls, will see that they can believe in themselves even when others do not. Expressive and intriguing illustrations bring the text to life. Back matter includes an author’s note that expands on Hallie Morse Daggett’s life and also includes photographs.
Enter the Trailblazing Women in History Nonfiction Picture Book Giveaway [CLOSED]
One lucky reader will win his or her choice of a nonfiction picture book featuring trailblazing women: June Almeida, Virus Detective! The Woman Who Discovered the First Human Coronavirus or Headstrong Hallie! The Story of Hallie Morse Daggett, the First Female “Fire Guard.” Enter via the entry form below. The giveaway is open to readers age 18+ years old with a U.S. mailing address. Good luck!